Schwinn Le Tour Legacy, the mea culpa, pix, and a ride report
I realize that's a lot to put in a thread title, but I've got a lot of ground to cover. If you're not a fan of long posts... turn back now.
Okey dokey. I was in need of a second bike to serve primarily as a commuter. I recently sold my old commuter, a Trek Pilot 1.0. It was an excellent starter bike and good commuter rig. In the end it was just too large a frame, so I decided to make a change.
In searching for a new bike I was initially torn between a road bike and a cyclocross bike. I leaned toward the cyclocross, assuming it would be a bit beefier and would allow me to take the occasional jaunt off the pavement as well. I completed my search and settled on a bike. It was a Cannondale CAADX 105. The problem, of course is that the bike lists for $1389. This isn't an unreasonable price, but if you're like me, you try to save money for a big ticket item like this... then life happens and you end up having to start over. The price was just too high if I was ever going to actually buy a bike in the forseeable future. Maybe someday, but not today.
So, I reset my priorities and started the search over again. It was then that I came across the 2010 Schwinn Le Tour Legacy. It was listed at both BikesDirect and Nashbar for $699. Steel frame (Reynolds 520), Shimano 105 FD, RD and levers, CXP22 rims. I knew ordering a bike online would come with inherent risks. I closed my eyes and leapt... aren't you glad I didn't say "pulled the trigger"
Okay, now for the mea culpa. I intended to buy the bike from Nashbar. I've had good dealings with them in the past. They had a coupon that would have basically cancelled out the shipping cost, making the total 699. Then, I noticed that their picture of the bike showed a compact double crankset, but their description of the bike listed a triple set of rings. I tried calling Nashbar and spoke to perfectly pleasant woman who had no idea what a chainring was. She gave me a number to try for their technicians. I tried calling that number, but no one answered. So, this brought me to BikesDirect. My mea culpa is that I owe some people on here an apology, including Mike. In the past, I have ragged on folks who I assumed were shills for BD. I extolled the virtues of buying from an LBS versus an online outfit. But, when push came to shove... or it came time to really put my money where my mouth was... I bought a BikesDirect bike because it offered the most bike for what I could afford. I guess I also owe an apology to folks like PlatyPius and others who own an LBS for not giving you the support you deserve. There's a word for people like me... it's called being a hypocrite. I have to own that.
So, I plunked down my $699 (no tax and free shipping) and bought the bike. I will spare you the pics of the box or the partially assembled bike inside. Suffice to say that the bike arrived, and (with the exception of a couple of very small paint chips on the seat tube), was in good shape. I assembled the bike myself and made a few initial modifications which I will go over in a subsequent post, along with a ride report. This one is running way long... even for me... thanks for reading. In the meantime, here's a pic.
Last edited by Opus51569; 04-28-2011 at 08:16 PM.
When you can ride... do.
Build-ups, hiccups, and end-ups
On our last exciting episode, Opus described his journey from the perfect cyclocross bike to something he could actually afford. He came out of the proverbial closet about his purchase from BikesDirect and he posted a pic of his new Schwinn Le Tour Legacy...
The build-up of the Schwinn was pretty much as promised from BD. The bike is mostly assembled. Bars are removed, but they have levers and cables already attached. The front brake, saddle and pedals are removed as well. Putting the bike together was, therefore, a straightforward process. I took my time, checking to make sure bolts were tight, doing some adjusting to the front and rear derailleur, etc. As others have noted, if you have some basic wrenching experience it's no big deal. If not, definitely take the bike to an LBS for assembly.
Once the bike was together, I took it for a quick spin up and down the block and quickly realized that I needed to make a few changes regarding fit. The "Medium" frame was the proper size for me in general (5'9"), but those who know me (and my avatar) know that I have very little flexibility that I'm aware of and likes me some higher bars. So, I promptly swapped out the Schwinn stem for the Ritchey adjustable stem I had on hand. This gave me more of the elevation I am used to and put the saddle approximately level with the bars. At some point down the road, I'll likely pick up a one-piece high-rise stem. While I was in the neighborhood, I also swapped out the Schwinn bar for a slightly wider SCOTT bar I also had. I didn't measure the Schwinn bars, but I'm guessing they are 42cm or possibly even 40cm. They felt pretty narrow compared to what I'm used to. I took the tape off the Schwinn bar and transferred it to the SCOTT bar as well. Then, I swapped out the saddle. The Schwinn saddle may be okay. I frankly didn't really ride it enough to tell. I had an old tried-and-true Terry saddle available, so I just put it on knowing it would work. The seat post on the bike (carbon) has a pretty decent setback. I can't quite get the KOPS position I'm used to, even with the saddle moved all the way forward. I'll be looking for a 0 setback aluminum post at some point down the road. Finally, I swapped the plastic pedals that came with the bike, for a pair of VP Beartraps that I have used before for commuting. Once all that was done, I installed the Bor Yueh rack on the bike. The Schwinn has eyelets toward the bottom of the seat stays for installing fenders. There aren't any eyelets higher up for a rack, though. I had some P-clips that I was able to wrap around the tops of the seat stays. The rack is on and solid. I put on the panniers I have and realized that the Schwinn's smaller frame means the panniers sit further forward than they used to. I ended up hitting them with my heel. I haven't figured out how to solve that particular problem yet, but I'm working on it. In the meantime, I took off the panniers and put on the trunk bag pictured above.
With these modifications done, it was time to take the bike for a ride. I'll break the initial ride report down to negatives and positives that I've noticed so far. In no particular order...
Negatives (keeping in mind this is based on my experience/preferences, YMMV):
1.) The wheels. In the instructions, it mentions checking the spokes and tightening them if necessary. Great advice if you have a sense of just how tight they should be. Apparently, I didn't. I took the bike for its maiden voyage, got about 4 miles from home, and noticed the distinctive "plink, plink" sound of spokes rubbing. I chalked it up to new wheels settling into position. Soon, I realized the back wheel was rubbing the brake pad. So... I cut the ride short and ended up taking both wheels to an LBS to have them trued and the spokes tensioned. I got the wheels back last night. They were both true, but there were spokes on the rear wheel that seemed pretty loose to me. I went for a ride again this morning and, sure enough, "plink, plink". Since I was already headed toward the LBS, I decided to just ride the bike there. The owner checked over the wheels once again, tightened several spokes on the rear wheel, and the ride home was "plink" free. He said it wasn't uncommon for new spokes to continue settling over time, so I'll have to keep an eye on it. By the by... the rims are 32 hole Mavic CXP22s. I don't know the brand of spokes. The hubs are Quando. I'm not familiar with Quando so I can't say where they fit in the pantheon of hub quality. I can say that the pawls on the freewheel are incredibly loud. I'm used to the hubs on my SCOTT Speedster which hardly make any noise. The Quando sounds like I'm being chased by a rattlesnake every time I start to coast . Good impetus to keep pedaling, I suppose.
2.) Paint. The color of the bike is actually quite nice, almost an electric blue. The paint itself and the clearcoat do not seem to be very durable. I mentioned in my previous post the small paint chips I found right out of the box. Since then, I've managed to make a few more from what I would consider very minor contact with the bike. This probably wouldn't be as big an issue for me if the frame was aluminum or carbon. I don't know how easily the steel might start to rust. Time will tell.
3.) Weight. I hesitate to list this as a negative, because it really isn't much of an issue for me personally. For those looking for info, though, know that this is not a lightweight bike by any means. I don't have a scale, but I am guessing the listed 24.75 lbs is being a bit generous. Obviously, I have added even more weight with a rack, bag, heavier stem and pedals, etc.
4.) Brakes. The Tektro (385 or 358... I can't remember which) brakes are only adequate. I will definitely switch out the pads for some Kool Stops as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the Tektros only come with a one-piece brake pad, so I'll either have to buy similar Kool Stops, or sets of cartridges and cartridge holders.
Positives (again, my personal experience/preferences. YMMV)
1.) The component group. After only a few minutes making adjustments, the 105 shifters and derailleurs performed as smoothly as I expected.
2.) Clearance. Looking at pics of the bike online before I made my purchase, I couldn't really be sure how much tire clearance there might be. The bike comes with Continental UltraSport 25s, which seem to be a good tire. I was hoping there might be room to get fenders and maybe some 28s on there in the future. I was pleasantly surprised by how much clearance the Schwinn frame provides. I should have no trouble with the fender and the 28s. I might even be able to get 32s in there.
3.) Steel is real...heavy. I listed the weight of the bike as a negative, but there is a flip-side to that weight. This is my first steel framed bike. I expected it to be a bit slower in accelerating, and it is. But once you get up to speed, it offers a certain amount of momentum and inertia that seems to make it easier to keep moving. The bike feels good just cruising at a particular speed. It's also remarkably quiet. I attribute this to the way the steel tubing transfers (or doesn't transfer) sound as opposed to the aluminum tubing I'm used to. I was also impressed with the welds on the frame. They seem to be very clean.
All-in-all, the negatives are relatively minor thus far, and are outweighed by what is good about the bike. As of now, (assuming the wheel issue has been addressed) I would say I got more than what I expected for a bike at this price point.
Well, that's all for now. Time to put in some miles and see what's what. More news as it happens.
i had been looking at BD's Schwinn bikes and ended up getting a Fuji Touring bike off from Craigs list a few weeks ago.
How does this bike compare to your other bike, which i assume may be aluminum. Its been a long time since i have had an aluminum bike and may take the leap again.
Correct. My other bike is a SCOTT Speedster S30 that I bought in 2009. I bought it new for just about $1100. From what I can tell thus far, that extra money bought:
Originally Posted by sport7
The same shifter/RD/FD: Shimano 105
Less weight: The Speedster is probably 20lbs.
Lower spoke count: The Schwinn is 32/32. The SCOTT is 24/20. Frankly, as a Clydesdale, I prefer the larger count. I recently popped my first spoke on the 24 and had to have it replaced. There's now a hop in the rim that can't be trued out.
Better brakes: The Speedster also has Tektros, but I think they are a bit further up the product line.
Less clearance: The Speedster can barely fit 25mm tires. I had a set of 25mm Krylions on it and recently switched back to 23s because I was afraid of the lack of clearance.
More noise: I can more readily here the drivetrain on the Speedster. The sound of it is a bit more "tinny"
Less versatility: The Speedster doesn't have rack or fender mounts. It is meant to be a road bike.
A carbon fork: The Schwinn has a straight blade steel fork.
I hope this helps.
Last edited by Opus51569; 04-29-2011 at 06:45 AM.
When you can ride... do.
thanks, yeah it helps.
Originally Posted by Opus51569
Most of what i ride would be considered to be in the 'Tank Category' of bicycles. After getting into bicycles for exercise a few years back, i thought to get the toughest instead of the fastest.
Nothing against being fast, but i wanted a tandem that did not take high end maintenance to get rolling. So i found an old Schwinn CroMoly Duo Sport tandem. The front wheel has 48 spokes, so no issues with spoke breaking non sense.
i learned when buying new wheels or bikes to go over the wheels and bearings myself. It amazes me, as i buy mostly used stuff, the poor condition of bicycles where i live. Bought a bike recently from a Cat 1 racer and he told me he did nothing for maintenance on my Fuji Touring bike.
i believe him.
So i do my repairs from front to back. Some grease here and adjustment there; and suddenly the bike becomes a fine machine.
Bought a new wheel from the LBS with grinding bearings and loose spokes; in fact broke a spoke that taught me to not trust anyone. Very little grease in the bearings and over tight; again not hard to fix.
Don't think i would like a low spoke count, but will put up with anything. Mostly get spokes for a buck on my unfancy stuff and just ride on. i spose a low count wheel would be fine with proper maintenance.
After learning to maintain a tandem, i am now turning toward the road bikes and sampling what's available. i do like the low weight aluminum and carbon; it's been fun to test ride them.
i really don't side with any faction regarding the road bikes. It all depends on what you want in a bike. If you want a totally solid bike and don't mind riding a Tank, then go with any Touring bike and be happy. i am with the Fuji.
When i get a few extra shekels then a true racing bike may be some where on my list.
Nice bike and thanks for the review.
No problem. The only thing I would add is that with low spoke count wheels there's a better chance that a broken spoke could require more than a simple replacement. When I popped the spoke on the Speedster, it carried enough tension that it actually pulled the rim out of round. It's true from side to side, but there aren't enough spokes to pull the rim completely round again. A 48 spoke is a monster, but I'd suggest a 32 spoke if you are anywhere near 200lbs. JMHO.
After a few more miles...
Up to about 50 miles on the Schwinn thus far. Here's an update:
1.) The rear wheel has maintained spoke tension but a small wobble seems to be appearing again. It's not enough to worry about truing, but I will keep an eye on it to see if it worsens.
2.) The durability (or lack thereof) of the paint is disappointing. I expected cable rub on either side of the head tube to eventually wear down the paint, but not after 50 miles.
Aside from that, the rest of the bike continues to perform well.
Approaching 100 miles
Sorry, I don't have an exact mileage. I only have one computer and it's on the Speedster.
Wheels - so far, so good. I had to made a few more very minor adjustments to spoke tensions on the rear NDS. Those are now holding and the rims are holding true.
Hub - I joked before about the pawls being a motivator to keep pedaling. It turns out to really be the case. I ride a lot of relatively flat roads and trails and tend to pedal/coast. I've found with the Schwinn I do less intentional coasting and spin more.
Saddle - I tried out the stock Schwinn saddle. It is too narrow for my Clyde butt, so I went back to the Terry instead.
Bar tape - The bar tape is rubbery and doesn't provide much in the way of shock absorption. At some point down the road I'll likely pick up some cork tape and just wrap it over the Schwinn tape to provide some extra padding.
Cockpit - I think I've confirmed that I'll need a 0 offset post soon to allow the saddle to come forward just a bit. I high angle I have with the adjustable stem works, so I can replace it with a one-piece angled stem at some point when money allows.
I've been focusing mostly on the negatives but notice that most of these are comfort/preference issues that are specific to me and how I like to ride. All-in-all, the bike is running well with no mechanical problems/issues to report.
Nice write-up, and glad you're happy with the bike. Weight isn't something to worry too much about for a bike like this - my Gunnar is along these lines and is a heavy bike. But it's a fun bike, and the one that's had more rides than the (comparatively) lightweight road bike. Enjoy it!
PS - I've got some clear frame protectors on that spot on the headtube where cable housings would rub. LBS had 'em, just clear dots about the size of a dime. A chain protector over the chainstay would be a good idea too, if it doesn't already have one.
Thanks kykr13. It does have the protector on the chainstay. I'll have to check out the dots for the sides of the head tube. Though, now that it has already rubbed the paint, I may want to find something other than clear.
Originally Posted by kykr13
It is. Got a gift certificate to Amazon as a birthday gift and used it to purchase some of the items I mentioned in earlier posts to complete the transition to a commuter rig:
Originally Posted by hellscream
Civia seat post - 0 offset
Ritchey 30 degree stem
Planet Bike fenders
Kool Stop brake pads
I just finished installing them, but the lap around the block test was good. The stem and post have shortened the cockpit considerably.
Before these changes, the bike was running well. I am still pleased with how smooth and quiet it is on the road.
I'll post and updated ride report and some new pics soon.
I purchased one a few months back and couldnt be happier with it. Its a hell of a bike for $700 and Ive had zero issued in about 200 miles. I worked in a shop in the late 80s early 90s and rode custom Paramounts and Bianchis, this isnt one of those, but its a good deal and I'd recommend it to anyone not looking for a bantam weight race rig of course.
So far so good
The Legacy continues to perform very well. The only adjustment that I needed to make was to the headset. I had some play in it after swapping out the stem. The addition of a 5mm spacer took care of it.
As promised, here is a more recent pic of the bike the way it's configured now as a commuter rig.
Rack mounting on your bike
EDIT: Sorry, I just read your report more carefully and found you mentioned having to use the P-clips on the upper seat stay.
I'm helping an acquaintance purchase a bike and like everything I see as far as value and components in the LeTour Legacy. What I don't know is are there braze-ons for mounting the rear rack on the upper part of the seat stay or did you have to use clamps?
Last edited by 2KSport; 08-15-2012 at 07:08 PM.
No worries. Glad you found what you were looking for. The bike is still going strong as my commuter ride.
Originally Posted by 2KSport
Which fender model did you put on ?
thanks for the writeup, i got same bike and am looking to put some fenders for winter, which fenders did you use ?
I went with a set of Planet Bike fenders. I had to trim a bit of the rubber from the mudflap on the front fender. It would catch on my foot sometimes when I pedaled through turns. Otherwise, they've worked pretty well.
Originally Posted by petyanca
Yes I saw they were planet bike, i was thinking which model since they make plenty, my guess is cascadia?
On a different note, I was inspecting the fork and rear triangle as to how to mount fenders, and I have noticed that on the rear triangle on the right side near where two tubes join they have a flat area on the inside (opposite side of fender mounting hole), whereas on the left side of the frame the tubes are round without flat areas. Would you mind checking of your bike have these flat spots ?
Mine are the "Hardcore" model.
Yep, I have a flattened section on my drive-side seat stay as well. I assume it's for chain clearance, but I don't know for sure.
Nice write up, very informative and enjoyable. Do you still have the bike? update?
Schwinn Le Tour Legacy, the mea culpa, pix, and a ride report
I do. Though, it's stripped to the frame at the moment. I'm thinking of painting it. The plan is to build it back up as a 1X10 runabout this summer if I have the time.
Originally Posted by beast1989
Last edited by Opus51569; 04-13-2014 at 05:58 PM.
When you can ride... do.